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to lack confidence about going back to work in my 40s

(17 Posts)
whatnow2 Tue 30-Dec-14 08:55:51


Am going to be 46 in January (shock) and have 3 dc who are 8, 10, and 13.

I have been a SAHM for 13 years now and really want to get back into work. I have never been a super confident person and feel even less so at the age I am now - I don't want to be "judged" for being "middle-aged". I live in London where I honestly think people are more youth and image conscious than other places (always feel more liked for myself in other places iyswim) and don't want to be compared to uber trendy younger people (apologies if I am generalising I am kind of envious anyway). I also have quite wonky teeth which does not help.

I suppose I would like to hear of your experiences of going back to work after a long gap. Am in danger of hibernating forever and I really don't want to do that as I want to earn money and carve a new interesting life for myself.

I suppose I would like confirmation that I could still be wanted in the workplace confused?

LadyLuck10 Tue 30-Dec-14 09:04:28

Congrats on your new job. It is very daunting going back, especially when you feel you need to learn the basics all over again. Your confidence will build as you settle in, they were confident enough about you to offer you the job so that's a good start.
Good luck.

Medge68 Tue 30-Dec-14 09:04:53

Gosh, I'm 46 and have quite wonky teeth - think we were the age group orthodontists forgot! I am currently improving my education with the OU in the hope I will be able to get a better job than my current minimum wage crap. Have you considered volunteering to improve your confidence? I did so in a charity shop after having being at home with the kids for years and it really did help! Sorry I have no further advice but good luck!

tumbletumble Tue 30-Dec-14 09:08:21

I was a SAHM for nearly 9 years. Earlier this year I went back to work (in a different but related field) at the age of 40. I won't pretend it's been completely stress free, but overall I am enjoying it and feel very positive about my future. No one has implied that I'm old or out of touch.

My advice is to get on with it and start applying for jobs. I was lacking in confidence too but being offered the job was a huge boost - after all, I wouldn't have been chosen if my age or my long career break was a problem.

Good luck!

LadyLuck10 Tue 30-Dec-14 09:10:10

Sorry I totally misread your post. confused

EatShitDerek Tue 30-Dec-14 09:17:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tzibeleh Tue 30-Dec-14 09:30:15

Pretty much identical position to you a couple of years ago, OP, my age, dcs' ages, everything!

I eased my way back in by volunteering. At first I was utterly terrified and self-conscious. Similarly when I started applying for jobs and having interviews. But by the time I was offered a post I had relearned most of the work skills that I needed, and began my first day nervous, excited and confident, rather than nervous, terrified and self-conscious.

My colleagues are all ages and all appearances. I fit in perfectly.

Good luck smile

notsogoldenoldie Tue 30-Dec-14 10:25:30

I've been pretty much a sahm for 12 years. I'm 55shock. I've got a few bits and bobs on my cv but nothing to write home about, and terrified of the prospect of being rejected in favour of younger people.

No advice, really, except to say that, in the grand scheme of things, you are not particularly old- your retirement age will be, what-about 70wink? So plenty of time to start and establish something completely new if you want to! Good luck.

Dunkling Tue 30-Dec-14 11:22:18

I went back 2 years ago at 45 after being a sahm for 18 years. Getting an interview was hard, really hard. They seemed to see that gap and my application would go in the bin. But of the 4 interviews I got, I was offered the job. I found that the best way was to be honest about the gap, was lucky that my interviewers in 3 cases were mums who had done similar, and enthusiasm. What some will see as being out of touch, others will appreciate your maturity and likely reliability (when did you last have a day off?... you don't do you?!). 2 years in my confidence is all back and I'm me again... loving it. Good luck!

pinkdelight Tue 30-Dec-14 12:10:53

It's taken me forever to realise this, but confidence isn't something you have or get before you do something. You do the scary thing and that's what gives you confidence. No one is confident going into these situations, however much younger or prettier they seem. In fact you're probably less self-doubting simply because you've loved longer and had more life experience. So don't let the doubts hold you back. Get on with the job and watch your confidence soar.

pinkdelight Tue 30-Dec-14 12:11:37

Lived longer I meant. Although loved probably helps too!

StillStayingClassySanDiego Tue 30-Dec-14 12:49:34

I went back to work full time in September 2013 after being a sahm, I did the books for dh's business but when work slowed down I had to get a job and earn my own wage.

It was tough I admit but at interviews I used my age as an advantage, selling my life experience, maturity and the fact that my kids were older and I would be less likely to take time off, etc.

I got the job and I'm glad, it's hard at times but it had to be done.

Be brave and good luck.

whatnow2 Tue 30-Dec-14 18:39:19

Thanks for your stories and good wishes. They really help. I suppose it's about believing it's possible rather than slinking about feeling depressed which is kind of what I have been doing. There also seem to be less jobs than people so I then wonder why I would be picked over someone out of college / university. Would not be going for those kind of career jobs anyway so I suppose I need to think in a different way about it all.

erin99 Tue 30-Dec-14 18:55:31

I was very struck in a WOHM/SAHM thread by a SAHM saying WOHMs are part of the fabric of everydaylife. You interact with them all the time - the dentist, the receptionist, the shop assistant, hairdresser. And those are just the customer facing ones. Offices are full of them too. Middle aged women everywhere. Just because an environment or role might feel alien to you, doesn't mean you'd look out of place in it to others.

Out and about, stop and notice how many working women there are about your age. Some may not have children, others have worked throughout but some will have returned after some years off. They did it. Some may have particularly stellar CVs but many are just normal people. You can do it, just like they did. Good luck.

Meemoll Tue 30-Dec-14 19:58:15

Go for it. I've just got a part time job after 6 years as a stay at home mum and quite a choppy job history prior to that. It has not been easy or straightforward but I've basically been trying to ignore all my own rubbish and just get on with it, and the beauty of work is that that is exactly what you are there to do! I totally agree that you will find confidence by just getting on and doing it, living it.

WandaFuca Tue 30-Dec-14 20:54:00

Maybe start off with temping? Just walk into two or three temp agencies and see what they could offer you. It would be good to have some idea of what kind of work you'd eventually like to do, but being flexible to begin with would help.

Temp assignments can be boring, and can occasionally be awful, but what temp agencies need is to be able to "sell" their temps to their clients; and one big thing you have versus (some) youngsters is reliability. You already know how to get three children, and therefore yourself, out of bed in the morning and to school on time. And you have organisational skills. And you can cope with all that raising three children throws at you, including management skills.

I worked through two temp agencies at different times in my life, and they both said it was easier to "sell" me to their clients, rather than youngsters, because of my experience of raising two children and managing a home.

Even if you don't want to try an agency, don't under-rate your abilities, or what those abilities mean to a prospective employer.

confused79 Tue 30-Dec-14 20:59:19

My mum was 45 when she first started working. It wasn't a case of not wanting to work before then, it was more a case of the longer she left it the more daunting it seemed. It was also a case of where to start looking. Anyway, I managed to get her a job at my work place and she loves it! She's been there over a year now and has worked up. She loves the social stimulation and her confidence has increased loads smile

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